Saturday, January 30, 2016

Old Meets New

To be honest, DH and I are not very 'formal' people.  Our lifestyle, and pleasures tend toward the simple.  Since our new home will have a room, a formal living room, that we were not sure quite what to do with, our good friend Steakburner suggested we make it our library/reading room.  We jumped on the idea, only to realize we didn't really have a lot of furniture to put in such a room.

Off we went a week or so ago, to the monster Nebraska Furniture Mart.  We spend a couple hours, looking at tables, chairs and book cases.  We have always loved the Arts & Crafts period, and Mission/Stickley furniture, but such is typically well outside our price range, especially if it is antique.
MDF construction drop leaf secretary

At NFM, we saw a line of furniture that caught our eye.  I even went back midweek to look closer at it.  In the end, I called the manufacturer, only to learn it was MIC (made in China), and was built on a frame of MDF (medium density fiberboard).  I called DH and gave him the bad news.  I am not going to spend that kind of cash for MDF furniture!

Disenchanted, DH began to poke through the local Craigslist, spotting some stunning antiques.  One, a drop leaf secretary, had been listed at a fair price, but had been out there for a full month.  Our experience with Craigslist and desirable pieces of anything, is that sellers tend not to remove listings, or even reply to inquiries.

With a sense that it would be pointless, but like the Lottery, if you don't play you never win, I went ahead last week and sent the seller an email.  And heard nothing...that is, until late last night, when an apologetic email came in, telling me it was still for sale.  I replied, and arrangements were made to go see the piece this afternoon.

This was what we found!  The hardware is original, save for two drawer pulls, and the stained 2x4's under the original feet.  We will be removing those feet, once we get it moved to our new place.  It even has the key for the bottom cabinet, though the lock for the top drop leaf does not work.  
Above, is what the sloped cabinet opens out to be, a leather covered writing surface, and small desk organizer inside.  The oak is solid oak, not veneers, and you rarely see that grade of quartersawn white oak these days.  Needless to say, we bought it!

In addition to the desk, just last weekend, I snagged with DH, an antique rocking chair, smaller than the one we already had, and very comfortable.  It was at the local Restore:  Habitat For Humanity resale store.  It is mostly original, though the rockers are likely replacements, they are not "new".  This is a Tiger Oak veneer, and the veneer is old and original.  Tiger Oak refers to the pattern of rays (the stripes) in the quartersawn veneer.  Sadly it does have one significant chip out of the seat veneer on the leading edge.  We are planning on how to repair that, though we do not have the missing piece.

And for the Old Meets New?  Well, our plan is to use the secretary desk in the library, to hold a laptop, just like this!  And the rockers will be the reading chairs, along with the new-to-us leather couch also from Restore.  As for the rest of the furniture we desire, we decided to piece it together from what we find at sales, antique stores, auctions and such.  Honestly, we never really were the "everything has to match" type of people!  So our library will be a work in progress.  And part of the fun, will be in the hunt!


  1. What an awesome find and it is REAL!!! We went through similar situations when we lived in VA so we went to a great guy who built what we wanted OUT OF REAL WOOD. Since we've been back in CT, I find a picture of a simple piece and hubby whips it up, saving us a lot of "cha-ching."...:)JP

  2. Like you, Arts and Crafts and Mission/Stickley are my favorites. I've a few pieces that are similar although not true Stickley. Some years ago, Dave and I went to High Point to look at Stickley and it was pressed wood at a famous price...NO, NO, and NO! I'd rather have OLD, real furniture than pressed wood.
    Your finds are fabulous! Very well done and I I love your success at finding something that fits your life and lifestyle. All of my furniture is antique, vintage or early marriage and I love it all...from the rocking chair that Great Aunt Ruth set up house keeping or the iron frame bed Mrs. Cokely and her husband bought for their wedding night or the....the stories go on and on. Nice find, Vic, nice find!

  3. That is lovely. I'm jealous. *grin* We've been buying our furniture "used" also. It's silly to spend all that money on overpriced fake wood. As for the library, maybe make it a real one with built in shelves? If I had an extra room like that, I know I would, but I have so many books. I hate reading on-line and much prefer paper to cyber.
    Are y'all moving / moved to Nebraska? If so, I'll bet that's a culture shock from Texas.
    Hope your day is blessed. ~:)

  4. What a great find! I love Arts & Crafts and Mission/Stickley. (I actually have two Stickley dressers that I bought a million years ago...) Agreed that MDF is not worth even looking at! I'm so happy for you and your family that you've found a fabulous house so quickly. Your dogs look very pleased. ;-)


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